Travel: Strike grounds over 200 Alitalia flights

Alitalia pilots and cabin crew embarked on a 24-hour strike Wednesday, causing the airline to ground 198 flights, the Italian carrier said in an online statement that included a list of the affected routes.

Fourteen flights were cancelled Tuesday and a further eight will be grounded on Thursday, totaling 220 flights cancelled. This is equal to 37 percent of Alitalia’s daily routes, according to estimates by Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The flights cancelled Wednesday affected national airports including Fiumicino in Rome and Malpensa in Milan. They had domestic as well as European destinations, including Athens, Brussels, London, Madrid and Paris.

“To limit inconvenience for passengers, Alitalia has activated an extraordinary plan that involves the use of larger planes on domestic and international routes,” the airline said in a statement on its corporate website. “We foresee that 70 percent of passengers will be able to travel on Oct. 9.”

In a statement last month, the National Air Transport Federation (FNTA) union said “the Alitalia situation is more and more critical and the lack of cash flow more and more evident.”

The union said that “concern among Alitalia pilots and cabin crew is very high, and there is a growing sense of distrust in company management.”

Alitalia has been under receivership since it declared bankruptcy in 2017, according to local business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

A public-private consortium made up of Italian state-owned railway group Ferrovie dello Stato, Italian infrastructure group Atlantia, and U.S. airline Delta is expected to make a binding offer on Alitalia by Oct. 15.